Pharmaceutical companies are guilty of testing new medicines in an unethical manner on people living in developing countries.

The report was released on Friday, 17 November during an event held to mark the silver jubilee of the Wemos Foundation. Liesbeth van der Kruit took such politicians as Diederik Samsom (PvdA) and Kees Vendrik(GroenLinks) to task about this issue during the Grote Verkiezingsshow (the Great Election Show). The report describes tests that involved various well-known pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. An example is Novo Nordisk, which tested new diabetes drugs on people in 32 countries. In India, the research was criticised because the required experiments on animals would not have been completed. The company discovered that laboratory animals developed tumours in continued animal research only, while the research on people had already started. The tests were subsequently halted.

Back in the early 1980s, Wemos conducted a successful campaign against Organon, which was selling anabolic steroids as growth promoters for undernourished children in Bangladesh. According to Wemos Director Nina Tellegen: “Sad to say, 25 years later there is still a need for Wemos to draw attention to misdeeds perpetrated by the pharmaceutical industry in developing countries. The report confirms that this is a widespread problem. Companies that engage in unethical testing in developing countries generally get away with it because the supervision in these countries is weak. It is high time the Dutch government took a stand on behalf of trial subjects in developing countries. It must deal with the pharmaceutical industry by imposing regulations and sanctions.”